Living with pets during COVID-19

26 Mar 2020
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A message from the Australian Veterinary Behaviour Interest Group

The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting our routines and this affects our pets, in some good and not so good ways. To minimise their being upset by the disruptions, we suggest the following:

  • Pets daily lives should be kept as routine as possible.
  • Continue their regular walking routine where safe to do so while ensuring social distancing is maintained.
  • Dogs can still gain the benefit of physical exercise and mental stimulation without leaving the house or yard through games such as fetch, chasing a toy or hide and seek.
  • Pets on behaviour medications, as with any ongoing medication, should continue to be given to them as normal and not be stopped during this time.
  • Everyone needs a break from the people they live with at times and this includes pets. If you are home with your pets and children, remember to give your pets a break from the kids if the pet wants it. This may just be a chance to lie in another room or a have a rest outside. Make it a family rule that if the pets are on their bed (or other designated place) they are having a rest and must be left alone.
  • If you find working at home difficult with your pet, consider restricting them from the room where you are working. A puzzle toy or device that rewards them with treats or a chewing item such as a suitable bone (as recommended by your veterinarian) may help settle them. While you are working at home, remember to take breaks- your pets are perfect at helping with that!

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